With the launch of a new billboard and button campaign, community members are holding out hope that their friend Sladjana Petrovic, missing since Boxing Day, will be located.
“You try to keep hope alive,” said Val Braden, clutching a batch of buttons bearing Petrovic’s face outside the Franklin Avenue post office on Monday.
Braden, a longtime friend of Petrovic, handed the buttons out to passersby, sharing information with residents at the busy street corner.
It’s the latest push in an ongoing campaign to raise awareness about the 60-year-old’s disappearance in the hopes of finding answers.
Serbian-born Petrovic, who has a small circle of friends and no family in Yellowknife, hasn’t been seen or heard from since Dec. 26.
She was last captured on CCTV video walking towards Franklin Avenue after leaving her 53 Street apartment around 3:40 p.m. Police believe she may have crossed Franklin Avenue before heading towards Somba K’e Plaza.
After opening an investigation on Dec. 27, Yellowknife Mounties scoured the downtown area — probing places Petrovic is known to frequent, including around the Salvation Army — before ending the ground search five days later.
Yellowknife Ground Search and Rescue (YKGSAR) and Civil Air Search and Rescue Association (CASARA) assisted in the search, yet the investigation has yielded next to no clues on the whereabouts of Petrovic.
There is no evidence to suggest Petrovic was met with foul play, Yellowknife RCMP detachment commander Insp. Alex Laporte stated on Jan. 10.
“With no news — that’s the hard part, just trying to keep hopeful,” Braden told Yellowknifer.
Braden and Yellowknife Centre MLA Julie Green are behind the “Find Sladjana” button campaign, which launched last week. The buttons, funded by the pair and designed by Janet Pacey, aim to keep Petrovic’s name on the minds of the public, said Braden.
Meanwhile, two billboards — re-purposed from Green’s fall election signs — were installed Monday at opposite ends of town (one near Old Town, the other by the Co-op uptown). The billboards, funded by Green and Braden with the help of Crime Stoppers, urge members of the public to share any and all information that may help RCMP in locating Petrovic.
“We just want to make sure the public is aware of who she is and that she is still missing, and that we’re trying to find some clues,” said Braden.
The signs were set up by members of the Yellowknife Community Foundation’s (YKACL) Odd Job Squad. The YKACL Employment Services-run initiative connects under-employed individuals who self-identify with a disability with short-term work around town, from lawn mowing to house cleaning.
“People have volunteered to help in anyway they can,” Green told Yellowknifer in an email.
Green, an acquaintance of Petrovic, added buttons will be handed out by volunteers at various locations around the capital in the coming days.
The Odd Job Squad installed two billboards in Yellowknife today to encourage the public to share any information that may help RCMP in their search for missing resident Sladjana Petrovic.@juliegreenMLA pic.twitter.com/Q73rQ6Swzz
— YKACL (@InfoYkacl) January 20, 2020
Braden is hoping the latest effort to raise awareness will lead to something meaningful.
“By putting her face up there, hopefully it might tweak somebody to remember that they’ve seen her,” she said.
“We’re just to keep her name out there so people don’t forget about her,” continued Braden.
Police describe Petrovic as “Caucasian, 5’7” / 170 cm, 257 lbs / 117 kg, (with a) heavy build, shoulder-length salt and pepper brown hair and blue eyes.”
She was last seen wearing a dark blue jacket, with a light blue liner and a pink/red shirt, along with running shoes. She was seen carrying a grey/black bag or purse.
Anyone with information related to the whereabouts of Sladjana Petrovic is asked to contact either Yellowknife RCMP at 867-669-1111 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS, nwtnutips.com, (click on “submit a web tip”) or text: nwtnutips to 274637.